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The Benefits of Including Facial Recognition in a Mobile App


Back in 2016, we wrote about 7 Technology Shifts That Are Changing The Landscape. We discussed how technologies such as conversational interfaces, artificial intelligence, and bots were on the rise.

But one of the HiTech advances that carries the most momentum into 2019 is facial recognition. It’s even being used as the primary security mechanism for today’s most popular mobile devices.

There’s no denying that facial recognition is gaining popularity, but the process of implementing this feature into an app remains rather vague and unexplained.

We decided to share our knowledge — which has come from dealing with facial recognition algorithms and engines — and discuss what we’ve learned about integrating this technology into mobile applications thus far.

What is Facial Recognition?

Facial recognition — or face recognition — is a biometric software feature capable of uniquely identifying or verifying a person by comparing and analyzing patterns based on the person’s facial contours.

Facial recognition is mostly used for security purposes, though there is increasing interest in other areas of use as well. In fact, facial recognition technology has received significant attention as it has the potential to be leveraged in a wide range of applications.

Writing a program to understand and then detect faces can be difficult for most enterprises, as it takes time and you need to know complex mathematics to compute Haar matrices. For these reasons, we suggest you use an existing library like OpenCV, an open-source library initially aimed at implementing computer vision and machine learning in various apps.

Our faces, just like our fingerprints, are unique. It’s impossible to find another person who looks exactly like you, or who has the same fingerprint. Scientists have learned to use these unique peculiarities to distinguish people one from another, and it’s strengthening HiTech security significantly.

How Does Facial Recognition Work?

With the popularity of Apple’s latest phones such as the iPhone X, many people make the mistake of confusing facial recognition with Apple Face ID from Apple. However, these are two different notions entirely.

In fact, the first facial recognition feature was actually implemented in Android apps, not iOS applications. Check out this interesting timeline on the history of facial recognition.

Five essential components of facial recognition:

  1. Facial Detection and Tracking is the process of identifying a human face within a scanned image.
  2. Facial Alignment is the process of obtaining relevant facial patterns — facial regions (such as eyes spacing), variations, angles, and ratios — to determine whether an object is human.
  3. Feature Extraction is the process in which particular facial features are extracted from the rest of the whole.
  4. Feature Matching is when the system tries to recognize the face and match it to a name or another identifying factor stored in the database.
  5. Facial Recognition is a result of all of these processes working together.

The Benefits of Leveraging Facial Recognition in a Mobile App

There are a number of ways businesses and government agencies can benefit from employing facial recognition technology. Here are few:

Security

Developers of mobile apps are using face recognition technology to distinguish human faces from photographs. Some of the popular face recognition apps are —  FaceLock, TrueKey, LogMe, IObitApplock, FindFace, FaceVault, etc. The basic functionality of these apps is to enhance the privacy and security of consumers’ digital property and personal data.

Pairing

Dating sites are using the theory that people are most attracted to those that possess similar facial features to their own. These dating sites are creating apps that pair users with potential romantic partners via facial recognition.

Financial Transactions

Online shopping has become quite popular in recent years. Reputable smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Google have installed face recognition software in their phones so that consumers will be able to carry out financial transactions easily while on the go, and without having to remember their most complex passwords.

Healthcare

Medical professionals can use facial recognition technology to identify a patient’s illness just by looking at the features of the patient. Through face recognition, doctors can identify symptoms such as swelling or inflammation, and begin to prescribe the best route forward without meeting the patient in person.

Advertising

With facial recognition technology, advertisers get a chance to get more precise in terms of communicating their messages to their desired target markets or demographics. Using this technology, cameras can identify the correct age and gender, giving marketers an opportunity to target exactly the right customer with the right message, at the right time.

Ecommerce / Retail

Some of today’s most disruptive ecommerce businesses are using facial recognition to provide better experiences for their customers. Take the glasses company Warby Parker, for example.  The company leverages facial recognition on their site, so that users can upload a picture of their face, and virtually try on different glasses frames so they can see which ones they like best — all from the comfort of their own home.

Final Thoughts

Despite the limitations of facial recognition, the technology is growing in popularity and eventually will become a part of users’ everyday lives across even more mobile applications.

In many cases, facial recognition technology simply makes lives easier. Instead of having to remember lengthy, complex passwords for example, users can use facial recognition features to confirm they are who they say they are. This adds enhanced security to the apps that need it most, such as personal finance applications.

In other cases, such as Warby Parker using facial recognition to provide improved online shopping experiences, users are able to benefit from being able to virtually try on products without having to leave their home.

As we continue to see facial recognition become more prevalent, we will see an increase in convenience for users. And after all, isn’t the whole point of technology to make our lives easier?

At Koombea, we have a team of HiTech app development experts who are able to advise on how your business can best take advantage of cutting edge technologies such as facial recognition. Have an idea for an app? Schedule a free 30-minute consultation today!

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